‘Mad decision’: Chandrababu Naidu roasts Andhra CM over big capital shake up
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s decision to shift the state’s administrative capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam and make Amaravati the legislative capital and Kurnool as judicial capital has snowballed into a major controversy.
The decision has shattered the dream of not only thousands of farmers, who hoped to see a turnaround in their fortunes but also that of the Telugu Desam Party’s president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who visualised Amaravati as a world-class capital city.
“It is a mad decision and Jagan will have to pay a heavy penalty for the same,” Naidu said, in an exclusive interview to Srinivasa Rao Apparasu.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q: Building a world-class capital at Amaravati had been your dream. Do you think your dream has been shattered now?
A: Yes, my dream is completely shattered because of a mad decision taken by an insane person, who senior journalist Shekhar Gupta referred to as Tughlaq. When I was the chief minister of combined Andhra Pradesh, I had visualised a modern city in Hyderabad that would generate a knowledge economy.
The result was the development of Cyberabad, which had emerged as a hub of information technology. It resulted in the development of the financial district and subsequent infrastructure facilities like outer ring road, international airport etc. Nobody could dare make any changes in it, including my successor YS Rajasekhara Reddy. That should be the spirit. Unfortunately, it is missing in Amaravati.
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Q: When you were in power, you had chosen Amaravati as the capital. Now, Jagan came to power with a huge mandate. Don’t you think he has the right to shift the capital?
A: No, he cannot do that. The people have not given him the power to change the capital. We had chosen Amaravati not because we had the power. After the bifurcation, we needed a capital city of our own and we selected Amaravati as the capital city after studying all aspects. It was endorsed by everybody and it was a collective decision. Telugus from across the world had contributed to Amaravati. Holy waters from all rivers and soil from all parts of the country were brought to Amaravati to take a vow to develop it as the capital city. Now, how can you go back? What is the problem?
Q: Visakhapatnam also has all the qualities of being a capital city. What is your objection to it?
A: Visakhapatnam is naturally developed and it was the TDP government which had introduced major projects like international airport plan at Bhogapuram, Adani Data Centre, convention centre by Lulu Group, IT companies etc.
The issue here is that Amaravati has already been chosen as the capital city and it has been functioning for the last four years. How can it be shifted now? If Jagan has so much love for Vizag, why did he cancel land allotment to Adani Data Centre and Lulu convention centre?
Q: Do you think it is because Jagan has any personal vengeance against you?
A: Not just vengeance. It is because of his madness. Just because he has a grudge against me, why should he punish the people? Why should the people travel for nearly 900km from Anantapur to Visakhapatnam to get a job done from the government? It is very sad for the state.
Q: What will happen if Jagan goes ahead with his plan to shift the executive capital to Visakhapatnam?
A: It is not so easy. But if he is still adamant in doing so, it will be the end of his political career. You are going to see it happen.
Q: The government says the three capitals plan is essential to bring about the decentralisation of administration.
A: What we need is decentralised development, not decentralised administration. Nowhere is such a concept of decentralised administration. Economy and employment have to be decentralised.
Q: What kind of role you are going to play in preventing the shifting of the capital city?
A: I will continue to fight along with farmers for retaining Amaravati. I will see that the capital shift does not happen. Not only me, all the parties, except YSR Congress party, are with the farmers.
Q: Don’t you think there will be a political backlash in north-coastal Andhra because of your stand on Amaravati?
A: I don’t think so. In fact, even people of north coastal Andhra had supported me when I chose Amaravati as the capital. If I change the stand now in favour of Visakhapatnam, they will question me.
Q: The Jagan government has ordered a probe against you saying you had resorted to insider trading in the land pooling in Amaravati. How do you respond to it?
A: It is sheer nonsense. They don’t know the meaning of insider trading, it happens in the stock market, not here. If somebody purchases lands by paying money, how can it be called insider trading? Let them prove it. It will only expose their foolishness.